Puzzle #8

The Decision Squeeze

by Sandy Greenfarb

This double-dummy problem hinges on whether an expert declarer-play technique, hard to find even with all the cards exposed, can be executed.

 NORTH ♠ A ♥ 7 4 ♦ 8 7 6 ♣ Q J 8 6 5 3 2 WEST ♠ J 10 9 8 7 6 ♥ 10 8 3 ♦ 9 4 3 2 ♣ — EAST ♠ Q 4 3 ♥ J 9 8 6 2 ♦ K J ♣ A K 10 SOUTH ♠ K 5 2 ♥ A K Q ♦ A Q 10 5 ♣ 9 7 4

Can South make three notrump against best defense?

#### Solutions

South can make his contract by using using dummy's spade entry to take a diamond finesse and reach this ending:

 NORTH ♠ — ♥ 7 ♦ 8 ♣ Q J 8 6 5 3 2 WEST ♠ J 10 9 8 7 ♥ 10 5 ♦ 9 4 ♣ — EAST ♠ Q 4 ♥ J 9 8 6 ♦ — ♣ A K 10 SOUTH ♠ K 5 ♥ A K ♦ 10 5 ♣ 9 7 4

South now cashes the king of spades, catching East in a time bomb. If East unblocks the spade queen, declarer cashes ace-king of hearts, pitching dummy's diamond, then throws West in with a spade. If East keeps the spade queen, declarer plays the diamond ten--now East has the choice of keeping the club ten and being endplayed into giving dummy a club trick, or discarding the club ten and allowing declarer to establish clubs.
Note that the third diamond cannot be cashed ahead of the king of spades, a true time-bomb position.